Let’s face it—sometimes, no matter how many candles you light and how much Barry White you listen to, you just aren’t in the mood. And that’s totally OK. Turns out, it’s normal not to crave sex constantly. But if you find that weeks or months go by and you’re still avoiding a romp session with your S.O., these libido-crushers might be to blame.
1. You’re too distracted
Finally, you have an hour to kick back and catch up with your one and only. But instead, you find yourself on your phone, scrolling through your news feed. “Your wedding vows probably didn’t say, ‘to have and to hold, text and tweet,’” says Celeste Holbrook, Ph.D., sexual health consultant. “So why are you making status updates so much more important than the status of your partner?” Point taken.
2. Your place is a mess
Who knew you had to be Mr. Clean to get down and dirty? But humans are stimulated by cleanliness—even if we can’t maintain it. “Who wants to get it on when the cat litter box is overflowing and the bed is cluttered with papers?” says Claudia Six, Ph.D., sexologist and author of Erotic Integrity: How to Be True to Your Sexuality. “You don’t have to be Martha Stewart—just create a harmonious environment. Hire a personal organizer or a housecleaner if you need to.”
3. You’ve recently gained weight
If you’re feeling self-conscious about your weight, it could get into your head. But rest assured, “a few extra pounds doesn’t have any effect on your ability to feel toe-curling pleasure,” says Dr. Holbrook. “Give yourself the same compassion you'd give to your best friend. Understand that what makes you special to your partner is not the number on the scale.”
4. You don’t exercise enough
When you feel sluggish and out of shape, the last thing you want to do is get naked. But exercise helps release feel-good endorphins, which have been shown to increase the desire for sex. One study by the University of Austin analyzed two groups of women—those who rode a stationary bike for 20 minutes and those who did paperwork for the same amount of time—and then showed them a racy movie clip. After witnessing the sexy scene, the women who exercised were more aroused than those who pushed paper.
5. You’re way too stressed
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. Stress is an inevitable part of life. But letting it overcome you will directly impact your desire to get freaky, experts say. “Sex is a place where you want to experience vulnerability, freedom and relaxation, but it’s difficult to get your mind into that space when you’re feeling particularly stressed,” says Dr. Holbrook. “Mitigating stress through meditation, exercise or by removing the responsible stressor will help you relax into connective sex.”
6. You have Hollywood expectations
Those sex scenes you see in movies—the spontaneous, rip-your-shirt-off, do-it-on-the-kitchen-table kind of sex—are not always realistic. “Movies (and porn) are entertainment, not how-to educational videos,” says Dr. Six. Instead of comparing your romp sessions with Fifty Shades of Grey, focus on the unexpected with your partner—being vulnerable and spontaneous is the key to great sex.
7. You’re too comfortable
It’s great that you and your partner are open with each other about everything from your deepest fears to your bathroom sagas. But sometimes being too comfortable means being complacent. “Sex can quickly become a rarity when you lounge around in your schlumpy sweats,” says Dr. Six. “This is fine as long as you don’t take the fact that your partner is a living, breathing, sexual creature for granted.” In other words, be comfortable, but don’t let it interfere with your desire to get down.
8. There’s tension in your relationship
Even if the fact that he leaves his clothes lying on the bedroom floor pisses you off to no end, try not to let tension build up. “Tension is the death of sex,” says Dr. Six. “I see it all the time in my office. You have to address the resentments, resolve the conflicts, apologize sincerely and learn to communicate more effectively.” Even if the conversation seems difficult and risky, being more open may fuel the action in the bedroom.
9. You’re depressed
Depression sucks the energy out of you, including your sexual appetite—then add antidepressants to the mix, which often have a deleterious effect on libido and ability to orgasm. “Address the cause of the depression, through medication and counseling, and make lifestyle or career changes to alleviate it,” Dr. Six advises. “You can get beyond it and thrive sexually.”
10. Kids—enough said
Your beautiful children might be the result of sex, but they can also be the death of your sex life. “Many women are afraid of being heard by the kids and refuse to have sex if there’s a child, of any age, in the building,” says Dr. Six. “Mommies and daddies have sex. Quit whining and get on with it!”